We just found out an inspiring project and want to highlight in our blog, as it works with some concepts that we’re also including in our Master Programme. Words like geo-referencing, interactive, layers, shared resources, public information and relational cities are now integral part of the research we’re going to start in September 2010.
HyperCities describes itself as a collaborative research and educational platform for traveling back in time to explore the historical layers of city spaces in an interactive, hypermedia environment. It was built on the idea that every past is a place, as we can read:
The fundamental idea behind HyperCities is that all stories take place somewhere and sometime; they become meaningful when they interact and intersect with other stories. Using Google Maps and Google Earth, HyperCities essentially allows users to go back in time to create and explore the historical layers of city spaces in an interactive, hypermedia environment.
Undersatnding an HyperCity as a real city overlaid with a rich array of geo-temporal information, ranging from urban cartographies and media representations to family genealogies and the stories of the people and diverse communities who live and lived there, the project drives us through a rich content on cities like Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, Lima, Ollantaytambo, Berlin, Tel Aviv, Tehran, Saigon, Toyko, and many more that they’re developing in an on-going part of the project. The most interesting approach of the project is that it not only transforms how digital information is produced, stored, retrieved, and shared but also transforms how human beings interact with media and how we experience places.
Going on with the idea that today’s new, plural, intelligent cities not only work in traditional areas affecting urban environments, such as infrastructure, land, networks, etc., we can understand how useful are these kind of tools to register and make an historical archive of our cities, but also an most important, to interact, and find new ways to focus in some other factors that affect their growth and development.
If we talk about public space as the basis of the concept of “relational city”, we also need to deeply understand the changes that the concept of public space has faced in the past decade. As read in the project Urban Hybridization:
In the past 20 years, the communications revolution produced by the Internet substantially affected the way we interact with the world. This has driven us to a change of perception in the traditionally recognized opposition between real and virtual. Nowadays, a new paradigm is actually re-drawing reality as a complex system of relations between layers as “face” (physical) and virtual. Architects and urban planners can no longer ignore this new reality generated by ubiquitous computer technologies that we have translated to the reconfiguration of physical space in urban areas, with the term “hybrid public spaces”.
We think that this is an innovative and useful tool for understanding the history of city spaces, urban planning, neighborhood composition, and demographics among other concepts, and we deeply believe that the use of these tools will make our approach to the academic study of the Relational City a more enriching experience, as we can see in the following video: